OXFORD | Ole Miss had the best case scenario against its Southwestern Athletics Conference opponent on Wednesday.
The Rebels belted Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 14-6, experimenting some in a game situation and playing relatively clean for nine innings two days before Missouri comes to town to begin the second half of SEC play.
The Lions entered the day with a No. 274 RPI, so nothing positive could happen for Ole Miss from a metrics standpoint, but the Rebels easily avoided disaster and moved their record to 23-14 on the season to start a four-game homestand.
"We talked about making most of opportunities," Mike Bianco said. "We haven't done that great this year in that area, and we're going to need that. It was nice."
Pine Bluff (12-24), who was outscored 28-7 by Mizzou over two games last week, is 1-6 against SEC teams this season. The one win was an 8-3 victory over Alabama on March 12.
Ole Miss has 13 hits including five of the extra base variety against a pitching staff giving up nearly eight runs per game. DJ Miller hit his first career home run, and Colby Bortles went 3-for-3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.
Bortles, Ryan Olenek and Tim Rowe all had three RBIs, and Tate Blackman scored three times.
"That was a good feeling for the offense," Blackman said. "We showed some maturity and have to keep being patient."
The Rebels played 15 position players and got four different pitchers work.
Greer Holston continued his string of midweek starts and gave up four runs on six hits in five innings. Pine Bluff hit a first inning home run and squared him up a few times. He also walked three Lions.
Holston had two shutout innings after Pine Bluff cut it to 8-4 in the third inning.
"Even though we got the lead Greer was able to put some zeroes up," Bianco said.
Houston Roth didn't allow a hit or run in two relief innings, and Sean Johnson had a scoreless eighth despite two hits in the frame.
"Roth was super dominant tonight," Bianco said. "Just terrific and he's looked like that a lot of times out."
Jason Barber allowed a two-run home run in the ninth.
Ole Miss went 10-for-25 with runners on base and 7-for-17 with runners in scoring position.